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Headrest bubbling and other issues, theories and testing

Joelschooler

Member
Oct 16, 2018
13
9
Santa Cruz
Hey everyone!
Joel here, I have a Tesla Model 3, and have driven about 30000 miles on it, and over the past 10000 miles I have noticed that my headrest has started to bubble. I don't use any hair product.
Now I have some theories, that I want to propose. If anyone else has this issue, please let me know if any of these factors are true for you:
I wear glasses
I used anti dandruff shampoo (Head and Shoulders, or Nizoral shampoo )
I live in the Bay Area and park in a carport
I drive a lot, with my head actually against the headrest.


One theory I have is that the light is being amplified by the side mirror causing the melting of the vinyl. This could be the case given that the side mirrors are angled to be focused on the head rest(so I can see them when I drive). But a counter is they fold in when I park.

Another theory is my glasses are amplifying the light... but my head is in the way.


My last theory is that perhaps I am not getting all of the shampoo out of my hair, and that, that possibly some residue is causing it. Though I have heard of people who were bald having the issues, so I don't know...

Any other thoughts? does anyone else have this issues also do the following above?

You can see a photo I took when I first noticed it(June), and a photo of it recently(September)
 

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Joelschooler

Member
Oct 16, 2018
13
9
Santa Cruz
So, if they are going to say it isn't faulty materials or workmanship, what are they saying it is?

And what service centers, do I know never to go to them?

they are saying its chemical, and likely from hair product, so its technically not under warranty. its the Sunnyvale and Seaside one. that said, other than that issue, they have been very generous in service. (free tire rotations). my mobile tech is also amazing, and has done so much to help.
 

640k

Member
Jul 15, 2019
928
630
Cincinnati
there's a DIY on how to bend the headrest so that it isn't so far forward. part of the DIY is to remove the cover from the padding. in the DIY, there is no evidence that the cover is glued to the padding.


can someone remove their cover from the padding to determine if this is solely the cover or the padding that's the problem here?
 

Joelschooler

Member
Oct 16, 2018
13
9
Santa Cruz
there's a DIY on how to bend the headrest so that it isn't so far forward. part of the DIY is to remove the cover from the padding. in the DIY, there is no evidence that the cover is glued to the padding.


can someone remove their cover from the padding to determine if this is solely the cover or the padding that's the problem here?

so its not the glue then... I mean, all the material must be there, so if I were to undue the head rest and pull the material taught, would that in theory fix it?
 

Joelschooler

Member
Oct 16, 2018
13
9
Santa Cruz
I am going just pony up the replacement money, but keep the old headrest and experiment on it to find out the cause. I will do a write up and post about what my findings are. Anyone have any suggestions as to what to test?
 

640k

Member
Jul 15, 2019
928
630
Cincinnati
I am going just pony up the replacement money, but keep the old headrest and experiment on it to find out the cause. I will do a write up and post about what my findings are. Anyone have any suggestions as to what to test?
Any of your car cleaners, water as a control, sun and heat.
 

Hkbruin

Member
Jun 27, 2018
190
132
Laguna Niguel
I don’t have that on my headrest but I do have warping of my armrest vinyl where my elbow presses into it. It looks all deformed and stretched. I don’t have pictures at the moment but can go get some soon.
 

jkoya

NA2 NSX
Nov 21, 2018
3,626
1,555
Northern CA
I'm actually surprised that Tesla is not covering this. I had a Honda CR-Z, which was a mid 20K car, and the cloth seats started fraying on the seat portion where my jeans would rub it to get into the car. Honda replaced the seat with no questions asked.
 
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640k

Member
Jul 15, 2019
928
630
Cincinnati
honestly i don't blame tesla. this is a weird case and not evident of manufacturer defect. unless OP can open up the cover and find something underneath that has caused all of this, there has to be a logical reason as to why the material bubbled the way it did.

to me, it looks like either chemical burn, heat, or a combination of the two. fabric/rubber/poly materials don't just "bubble" unless they interact with something. my guess is a petroleum-based product came in contact with the headrests, but OP swears this is not the case.
 
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Reactions: tracksyde

Joelschooler

Member
Oct 16, 2018
13
9
Santa Cruz
honestly i don't blame tesla. this is a weird case and not evident of manufacturer defect. unless OP can open up the cover and find something underneath that has caused all of this, there has to be a logical reason as to why the material bubbled the way it did.

to me, it looks like either chemical burn, heat, or a combination of the two. fabric/rubber/poly materials don't just "bubble" unless they interact with something. my guess is a petroleum-based product came in contact with the headrests, but OP swears this is not the case.

That could be possible I am looking into the ingredients in my cleaners and I think one of them includes petroleum... Would you say this is likely the cause?
 

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